Unmasking State Terrorism under the Duterte Administration
Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Government of the Republic of the Philippines as a signatory of UDHR has the obligation of the state to promote and protect, in its fullest capacity, the fundamental and inalienable human rights of the people.
However, our recently concluded Human Rights Summit, which gathered cases of human rights violations all over Northern Mindanao, presented an alarming rise in abuses perpetrated by the state and its armed forces in the region.
Overall, the Summit reported violations against right to life and liberty with 4 victims of extrajudicial killings, 7 cases of frustrated killings, 4 victims of enforced disappearances, 47 victims of trumped-up charges, 43 victims of illegal arrest and detention, and 32 victims of arbitrary arrests, 567 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation and 927 victims of fake and/or forced surrenders within the year. The Summit also documented violations to the right to security in communities including 4 incidents of enforced evacuations involving 110 families and 496 individuals.
All these violations are licensed by no less than the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the head executive of the state, President Rodrigo Duterte, under his counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan alongside Martial Law imposition in Mindanao. All the while, the perpetrators coming from the ranks of the armed forces and civilian government agencies continue to enjoy full blanket protection against accountability perpetuating the culture of impunity of these abuses.
Notably, the victims are farmers and Indigenous peoples’ whose lands are red-flagged and whose communities are vilified as NPA members or supporters. They are the farmers and Lumads whose communities stood to protect their lands and ancestral domains against developmental aggression of large foreign corporate miners, loggers and plantations and of state “development” projects.
They are the farmers of Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus whose communities were militarized for waging decades of campaign against land grabbing in Dologon, Maramag, Bukidnon. They are the farmers of Kilusang Magbugukid ng Pilipinas and Misamis Oriental Farmers Association who were slapped with trumped-up criminal charges of murder, frustrated murder, and other criminal cases in a desperate attempt of the state to demoralize them from campaigning for genuine agrarian reform against land monopoly of landlords and middlemen. They are indigenous peoples such as the Manobo of San Fernando, Bukidnon, who were driven from their community by guns and bombs because of their assertion of their right to land and self-governance.
The victims are unarmed human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, mediamen, and church workers who were accused of being rebels and destabilizers for voicing out criticisms against Duterte’s “Kill, Kill, Kill! Policy”, the TRAIN Law, the ENDO, the selling of our patrimony to the Chinese and US powers.
The crimes of the victims were that they looked up to President Duterte for reforms under his “Revolutionary Government” and his slogans that change is coming. Their only charge is activism or their assertion of their economic, political and cultural rights. And all these were criminalized by the government. And for these they were demonized, killed, threatened, harassed, intimidated, tortured, and jailed of false charges using the full might of the state armed forces and weaponizing the law capitalizing on the snail-paced system of our courts and expensive trials.
The Duterte Administration shows no sign of remorse and is hell-bent on taking down all its “enemies” at the expense of human rights. While the government is harassing, killing and jailing critics, it is consolidating its political strength from the ranks of plunderers and murderers. Already, these criminals are on the move to gain more powers through Charter Change, Federalism, and the Bangsamoro Reforms while that of the people are slowly diminishing.
The Duterte Government is a Fascist, a Tyrant, a Dictator. He uses brute force to impose his will. He uses terrorism to inflict fear among his “enemies” and critics. He is a Terrorist who uses the state machineries to unleash horror among peasants and farmers who assert their rights.
However, the Filipino people will not surrender the rights guaranteed by the UDHR and our Constitution that was fought for by our heroes. We will continue to fight off the government’s attempt to rid us of our rights and silence us against the misdeeds that government officials are committing upfront.
WE CALL FOR THE PULL-OUT OF MILITARY PRESENCE FROM CIVILIAN COMMUNITIES AND SCHOOLS.
As soldiers mandated to serve and protect the people, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and all state armed agents should uphold human rights, and the international humanitarian law at all times.
WE CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE STOP OF OPLAN KAPAYAPAAN AND THE RESUMPTION OF PEACE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE CPP-NPA-NDFP. RESUME PEACETALKS, AND RELEASE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS.
WE CALL TO DROP ALL FALSE/TRUMPED-UP CHARGES AGAINST FARMERS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, ACTIVISTS, HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, AND CHURCH WORKERS. Legitimate dissent against anti-people policies of the government is democratic, not a crime.
WE CALL ON THE LIFTING OF MARTIAL LAW WHICH HAS RESULTED TO THE INTENSIFICATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE PEOPLE FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE DOWN TO THE URBAN CENTERS AMONG LEGITIMATE ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUAL CRITICS. The government can address problems of peace and security while maintaining the integrity of civilian authorities and of the people.
WE STAND AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, CALL FOR JUSTICE FOR ALL THE VICTIMS AND FOR ACCOUNTABILITY OF PERPETRATORS. We call for accountability of the government, especially President Rodrigo Duterte, who authored, licensed and commanded its armed forces and the courts to attack its people. The attacks against human rights is a crime against humanity. Thereby, the people can and will make the perpetrators pay for all their crimes committed.
Source: Movement Against Tyranny – Northern Mindanao Region
Date: December 10, 2018